Exchange students are impressed by the trust

Published Oct 10, 2011

The exchange student Danylo Hirnyj is one of the first visible results of the strategic cooperation with the University of Illinois. In the beginning, he was considering studying in Lund, but KTH's agreement with Illinois University made him think again.

Danylo Hirnyj found out about KTH at a fair for foreign studies in his hometown of Illinois. He originally had his sights set on a European university, and when he met a representative from Lund University his interest in Sweden was awakened.

“It may sound a little strange, but he was so enthusiastic and persuasive that I rather quickly decided that 'Lund it would be'.”

Then Danylo received an email from his international co-ordinator informing him of the new cooperation agreement with KTH. Danylo was impressed by the considerable amount of courses held in English offered by KTH, i.e. courses that he could include as part of his own education in Engineering Physics. In addition, Stockholm was an alluring contrast to the university town of Urbana-Champaign, where his campus is located.

“So I fell for KTH instead, even though I had not heard of your university before. Stockholm seemed to be a "cool" city, and KTH gave me the impression of being a serious university”

Danylo will be staying throughout the entire autumn term and will be taking courses in Computer Science. The programme maintains the same level as at his home university, he notes.

“But most of all I will be taking back with me the knowledge from the courses in Swedish culture and civics. This sort of thing cannot be learned in the same way unless you are actually here. You learn the subjects in a completely different way than otherwise.”

His fellow student from Illinois, Alejandro Gomez, is also studying Computer Science, but has not quite grown accustomed to KTH's term structure.

“It feels odd to study so many courses at the same time and I have to struggle quite a lot to keep up. I'm used to fewer and longer courses during a term,” he says.

Both of them testify that they get a good response from the KTH teachers when they need support:

“They are so helpful and accommodating. Every time I meet a teacher to talk about a problem, we solve it together. I'm really impressed by how easy it is to get in touch with the teachers here. It's probably the best thing about KTH everything considered,” says Danylo Hirnyj.

His student accommodation is in Lappkärsberget at Frescati where many other exchange students are living. So although the University of Illinois has a very strong international character, he meets more international students in Stockholm, says Danylo.

“It's a bit surprising but is also quite natural, since I am a member of that group. But I also feel that there is more diversity at KTH with more students from Asia and Africa.”

After a month's stay in Stockholm, he is amazed at the trust and confidence he meets in his daily life. Especially when travelling on public transport.

“Just the simple fact that you can get onto a bus via the rear door without having to show your ticket if you are carrying heavy luggage. And that the driver accepts it. It feels great. That's not the way we do things at home,” says Danylo Hirnyj.

Text: Christer Gummeson

Read more about the strategic partnership between KTH and University of Illinois

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